This was my first run of any kind since the Darnley/Dams run a month ago, and I didn’t want to miss a grand evening out in Fife. However, the Fates were conspiring to turn a commuter rail trip to Kinghorn into something more problematic: more like Hamilton (Seemples!) trying to get to Edinburgh on public transport. Waverley station at 6pm was a sea of anxious faces as Fife trains were cancelled or re-routed due to damaged power-lines. However, the 6.15 train miraculously set off and arrived on time, disgorging Boggies and joggers in time for the 7.45pm start.
I’d been hatching a plan for the race: it’s about half roads and promenade, and half tidal sands. Passing the Black Rock, it was clear that the tide was exceptionally low – so my plan (to run barefoot on the sands) could be achieved. Off we went down to the beach, when my lace became untied and I struggled to re-tie it. Bad move – a sea of runners swept past. However, stashing my shoes below the doggy-doo bin by the beach, I found my (bare) feet and stamina to be in good shape. For the next 2 miles round the Rock, I gained places steadily, and indeed decided to continue barefoot up the prom towards the finish, to ironic cheers and snapshots by the locals. “Zola Budd!” shouted one. “Fergus Murray!”(my barefoot running role-model in the 60s)I shouted back. However, the organisers had tagged our feet for finish times, so I lost more time trying to re-shoe near the finish (where were my Reebok zippers when I needed them?). For the final 200m climb, off came the shoes and I kicked them across the sensor mat at the finish.
Post-race was the usual rammy, as tired runners and locals searched in vain for shared experience in a booze den called “Carousel”. I slunk back to the community hall, where an aroma of burnt beef offered temptation. Sure enough, here in a side-room were polis and marshals tucking into stovies, so I grabbed a plateful, only to learn that it was for race officials! Too late…yum yum.
The final adventure was still to come: the evening trains suffered more cancellations, and a relief bus took us on a mystery tour of the north Forth towns, finally disgorging several exhausted runners at Inverkeithing to wait for a train.
“Into the Firth of Forth, Ran the eight hundred”. It was Grim…but I feel great afterwards.

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